The Pollard Prize is awarded annually for the best paper presented at an Institute of Historical Research seminar by a postgraduate student or by a researcher within one year of completing the PhD. As part of the prize the winning article is published in the Institute’s prestigious journal Historical Research. The winning article for 2009 was ‘”Measuring by the bushel”: reweighing the Indian Ocean pepper trade’ by Sebastian R. Prange. The article explores the black pepper trade in its Asian contexts, focusing on the Malabar coast and the central role played by Muslim mercantile networks. The author argues the need for a rethink about balances of trade and a reweighted scholarly focus on the pepper trade in its global dimensions.